Nerve Irritation VS damage

Hi everyone! I am now 11 days post op. I have new nerve pain after surgery in my jaw and the glossopharyngeal nerve pain got worse. I am wondering if it could be nerve irritation and the nerves are just mad or if it could be nerve damage? How can you differentiate between irritation and damage? I’m hoping it’s not permanent.

Let me know :blush:

this isn’t to discourage anyone from surgery, surgery is an amazing option. Just want to clarify on this. My doctor told me to be patient and wait it out but that wasn’t very encouraging for me.

Unfortunately I don’t know of any way to tell what’s irritated , or what’s damaged, other than time! I think it’s pretty rare for surgery to be done without irritating some nerves, equally most surgeons do monitor the nerves while they do surgery to know if they’re being stressed.
11 days is still early to be able to tell; if you’re getting alot of pain then it’s worth trying medication if you’ve not already? Like Gabapentin, Amitriptyline etc.
I’m sorry I can’t give you any advice other than the same as your doctor- we’ve had members on here who’ve had improvements even a year after surgery!
Hope that things do settle down for you, thinking of you…

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5.5 months post op. Just now feeling significant relief. Please … be patient!


Hi juliatch,

As Jules & shayney noted, nerves are slow to heal. It took some of mine 6 months & others 9-12 months to heal. I’m actually still healing from First Bite Syndrome 5.5 years after my first surgery. It seems to be less & less of a problem these days. I’m really thrilled about that!

That’s awesome!! But wow after 5.5 years

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Thank you Jules! As you can probably tell I’m just an anxious person :rofl: I am actually on gabapentin now. I can’t tell if it’s working or not yet. I think I was just not expecting the pain to get worse but I am learning to be patient through this experience. Thanks for the advice I’m so thankful for this site!


I am a year-and-a-half out, Still having pain at a 10 from glossopharyngeal nerve damage

From surgery? Or did you have the same amount of pain prior to surgery?


I just re-read your original post that documented your surgical & health history. I’m so sorry you’re still having pain at that level. :cry: Have you ever found out how much of your styloid was removed & if the styloidhyoid ligament was removed? I know you said in a follow-up scan the resection looked “good” but that doesn’t say whether or not there is a lot of the styloid left behind. It does sound like your surgeon had huge regrets though that doesn’t help resolve your pain.

I know that in light of your first surgery, you probably aren’t considering a second to remove your other styloid, but it might help. Having one out does create an imbalance in the neck that can allow the remaining styloid to put additional pressure on the cranial nerves in the area. Sorry if this sounds like an insensitive suggestion, but maybe leaving no stone unturned at this juncture is a thought.

How did the nasal lidocaine work? Any help at all?

You might be interested in the Two Minute Neuroscience series on YouTube. There is one 2-minute video for each of the cranial nerves & other neurological info. The nerves most often affected by ES are the facial, glossopharyngeal, trigeminal, accessory, hypoglossal & vagus.

Hi Julia,
I’m about 4 months ago and I have TMJ and osteoarthritis in my jaw. I was warned my TMJ would kick up and it did.Ive been struggling with jaw, mostly nerve pain which didnt improve alot until about 12 weeks ago. That was with steriod shots in jaw, botox of temporalis muscles on top of massage and acupunture. If you haven’t already, I would request the operative report from the surgery so you know what the surgeon did. My showed the glossopharyngeal was decompressed.I wouldn’t have known that if I had not read the report. In my case, I know the source of my nerve irritation is the trigeminal nerve bundle.
I imagine you still have alot of swelling that wont help with this nerve pain. My doc gave me predisone after surgery and that helped with the swelling. I still feel a muscle pulling from my ear thru my neck. The ear pain is much better but I feel that tugging muscle. I just gotta keep at stretching the muscle and working the scar tissue to release. Someone mentioned Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) that Im going to give a try. Find a good physical therapist, massage person, or occupational therapist to work on your scar tissue and stretch the shoulders/neck area. Hang in there. it will get better.

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